Rosslyn is not the first place Arlingtonians — or, for that matter, Washingtonians — think of heading for happy hour. But that may change, thanks to the Continental Beer Garden, which makes its debut in a former auto repair shop at the corner of 19th and North Moore Streets on Thursday.
The location might be familiar to Arlington bar hoppers: Over the last few years, the lot has been used as a pop-up urban park for Oktoberfest, St. Patrick's Day and other special events. But now the space is becoming a permanent beer garden, with a pair of full-sized bocce courts and room for 150 people to sit at shaded tables, surrounded by boxes filled with flowers and trees. A smaller indoor area, decorated with old service station signs, holds 30 people.
There are 10 beers on draft, mostly Virginia craft beers, and four wines on tap. (Both can be served by the pitcher or carafe for large groups.) Frozen drinks and sangria are also available at the short indoor bar, which doesn't have any seats. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m., with $2 off all beer and wine.
Former “Top Chef” Marjorie Meek-Bradley, who owns Washington's Smoked and Stacked, consulted on the menu, which features bratwurst, a half smoke and a pulled pork sandwich, as well as a selection of salads and vegetarian dishes, including a portobello schnitzel.
“Four years ago, there were dumpsters and four or five cars parked out there,” says Curt Large, who operates the beer garden and owns the Continental Pool Lounge down the block. “It was an afterthought.” The Rosslyn Business Improvement District worked with property owner JBG to spruce up the corner, adding a wall-sized mural by New York City artist Jason Woodside and adirondack chairs, and opening the space to the public. Oktoberfest and Cinco de Mayo events drew enough interest that the BID and Continental, which operated the pop-up beer gardens, decided to make it permanent.
Continental Beer Garden will open at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and Large says he's open to expanding the hours if there's more interest. “Rosslyn's funny. This area empties out on weekends. It's like a ghost town,” Large explains. “But you go two blocks, and there are all these apartment buildings.”
The Rosslyn-to-Dupont-via-Georgetown Circulator stop is right outside the bar, and Large sees potential for reverse happy hour commuting, given the limited amount of outdoor space in Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. “I see us eventually opening for brunch,” he says.
Continental Beer Garden, 1901 N. Fort Meyer Dr., Arlington. Open 3:30 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.